Adding a birdhouse to your back yard is a great way to build family togetherness, as well as help the decline in habitats that our feathered friends are facing. When placing birdhouses in your yard you are encouraging birds to frequent your yard. By providing shelter from the weather and from predators you are strengthening the bird population for future generations to enjoy. Birdhouses also create entertainment for you and family! By watching the male and female build their nest and raise their young they are learning about the family unit comparable to your own. It is a great way to teach the children about nature.
When you decide you want to add a birdhouse to your yard, ask yourself the following questions. This will help to enhance your bird watching activities for you and your family.
What type of bird are you trying to attract?
There are about 85 species of birds in North America that are classified as cavity dwellers. About 30 of these species will use a birdhouse, such as bluebirds, titmouse, some owls, and some woodpeckers to name a few.
Do you know what type of birdhouse they would prefer?
Check out the Audubon Society or your local library for books that describe the birds habitat and type of nest they prefer.
Do you have a plan on where to place the birdhouse?
First of all, be sure it is away from your bird feeders. For example, it is a good idea to space bluebird houses at least 200 feet apart because they are very territorial and do not like other birds hanging around. Next, be sure the entrance hole is facing away from the direction of your normal wind flow and rain. (I know at my house the wind and rain are almost always blowing out of the southwest)
Is the house easy to clean out after the birds start their journey south?
Look for a birdhouse that has an access door or opening.This step of the process may prove to be the most difficult, as there are plenty of cute birdhouses out there to choose from. I found that there was a huge selection of bird houses online at Homeclick. Once you find your perfect birdhouse, once a year you can can use a very mild solution of bleach and water to clean your birdhouse.
What threats will the birds face if they build in your backyard?
I know that I must have all the squirrels in the US in my neck of the woods and they love to eat wood!! You can buy a birdhouse with a squirrel guard around the entrance hole or you can easily add one of your own. Also, even though most birdhouses come with a perch at the entrance hole, they are not a good idea. Birds can sit, enter, and fly away from the entrance hole if you have the proper diameter entrance hole. A perch allows predator birds to sit and peck away at the eggs inside the nest.
What size birdhouse do you want or need?
Some birds prefer their own nest and will not nest close to their neighbors. Others, such as Martins, prefer a gaggle of neighbors that is why their houses come in condo type birdhouses. Again, if you check out the type of birds you would like to attract, you should find this information.
How long will it take for me to have birds building nest in my birdhouses?
Do not give up! If you put out a birdhouse, they will come. It just takes time.